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>> tonight on c-span. a look at a proposal to change senate rules on philly busters on executive branch nominations. later, a house hearing looks into iran's influence in latin america. on monday, the senate will be meeting behind closed doors to discuss possible changes to philly buster rules. harry reid has announced that if no agreement is reached he will ake changes to make it easier.
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>> welcome. >> thank you for joining us via c-span this afternoon and all of our television viewers are welcome to send in questions by -mail to us. we will post the program within 24 hours on our website for your future reference, as well. hosting our discussion today is our senior legal follow in legal and judicial studies and manager of our judicial reform initiative.
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he handles things like elections, campaign financing, voter fraud and identification laws and registration issues. before joining us, he served for two years as a member of the federal election commission and has been a counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the u.s. department of justice. he is a former litigator, and house counsel, and senior corporate officer as well in the insurance industry. please join me in welcoming my colleague. [applause] >> i would like to welcome you to the heritage foundation, particularly all of you who braved the torrential rains overnight to be here in erson. we are here today to talk about the nuclear option. anyone who lives in the real world outside of washington would expect that we would have a panel here of our national-security and foreign-policy experts talk about our missile defense system. in fact, we are here to talk
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about another subject that was heatedly discussed on the floor of the senate just yesterday between senator harry reid and senator mitch mcconnell. senator reid has said he intends to change the rules of the senate, to end the ability of the minority to filibuster which is a long and hallowed tradition in the senate. what do we think about that? here is what a certain senator said about this not too long ago. "the filibuster is not a theme and is not new. it is far from a procedural gimmick. it is part of the fabric of this institution we call the senate. it was well known in colonial legislatures before we became a country and it is an integral part of our country's 214 year history. senators have used this to stand p to presidents. the roots of the filibuster are in the constitution and in our
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own rules. there is no way that i would employ or use a nuclear option. it would ruin our country. in fact, breaking the rules to change the rules is unamerican. senator harry reid said that ack in 2005. he is now scheduled to do his unamerican act for a vote on monday in the old senate chamber and then a vote on tuesday. why is there a debate about this in the old senate chamber? the old senate chamber does not have television coverage. c-span viewers will not be able to watch and there will be no gallery where the public can see what is going on in the debate. by the way, then senator obama said that if the senate broke the rules to change the rules "the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock would only get orse.
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unlike many of the president's other announcements, he certainly is correct about this one. i also want to give you quotes from another couple of eople. senator bill nelson from florida said "we must encourage compromise not to change the rules in the middle of the game bordering on abuse of power. surely, the senator can rise above these partisan politics and come together for the sake of the nation. another senator, tim johnson, democrat of south dakota pointed out the reason why this is a good rule. "one of the consequences of the 60-vote rule is that it takes both parties by the scruff of the neck, brings them together and says you will have to reach across the aisle and cooperate, coordinate with your colleagues from the other party whether or not you like it. finally, dick durbin, democrat of illinois said," those who are focusing on the nuclear option and not just forcing the rules
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to win but they want to force the rules to win every time. this is very important because senator reid and his caucus are saying that these rules have to be changed because the minority has been holding up legislation and blocking the nominations of the president. president obama has been able to get signature bills through, everything from obama care to his latest immigration bill and the vast majority of the president's executive and judicial nominees have all been confirmed. it is a very minor loss rate that is no worse or different than that of prior presidents like president bush or clinton. he has had 201 judges confirmeded including two supreme court nominees, 29 have been confirmed this year alone, 38%. if that is a blockade, it is mighty poor.
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this is a serious subject but i have to put a personal note in here. i laughed at one point yesterday during the coverage of the debate. there was a discussion ongoing at the time of president obama's recess appointees to the national labor relations board which the district of columbia court of appeals found to be unconstitutional because the senate was not in recess at the ime. excusing these appointments, senator reid said they were necessary at the time because they were due to the unconscionable delay in the consideration of the nominations of the nominees by the minority. t is interesting that two of the nlrb nominees were recess appointed on january 4, 012. there were nominated by the president, december 15, 2011, wo weeks before.
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i laughted because of my personal experience. senator reid believes that two weeks is an unconscionable delay and yet it was the same senator reid that held up my nomination during a prior administration for 2.5 years after senator obama put a hold on the omination. the point is that the claims being made to the rules being changed because of the president's legislation and the nominees are being stopped and the president is suffering disproportionately. it is factually not true. hy is this being done? let me tell you that i would suggest that you read an interesting article that may give you a clue. it is in "mother jones" magazine that is not conservative. they had issued an article on january 9 of this year in which they described a meeting that was held in washington, one month after the november
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lection. some of the most powerful liberal advocacy groups and unions in the country were at this meeting including the national education association, the sierra club, the sciu, the naacp and the afl-cio. he organizations at this meeting are the backbone of the liberal political world and they provide the money, the support, and get-out-the-vote campaigns that got senator reid and his caucus in office. the goal of this meeting was to put together "a national coordinated campaign" to reshape the united states into a progressive, liberal utopia. of the three objectives that were agreed upon by these groups at the meeting, one of them was to get rid of the filibuster in he senate so that the majority party could ram through
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legislation and nominees with no opposition and no need to compromise with the inority. we have three very knowledgeable sources to discuss the origin of the filibuster. brian darling is a veteran of the senate and served on the staff of several senators. mel martinez is currently counsel for rand paul of kentucky and served bob smith of new hampshire. -- is a fellow seven-year veteran of the heritage foundation where he started as director of senate relations for our installations to pardon and ended as a senior fellow for government studies. he offered "backgrounders for the heritage foundation that are relevant today and there are opies outside. for anyone watching, you can get these on the heritage website.
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one of them is called "tyranny. robert dove is a parliamentarian emritus from 1981-2001 with a brief interlude. he was the assistant parliamentarian from 1975-1981 and the second assistant parliamentarian from 1966-1975. i hate to tell you how old i was in 1966 when you started. [laughter] i will not tell you that. he has also worked as a parliamentary consultant to the consultant dumas and parliaments in various other countries. he has taught at george washington university, georgetown university law center, george mason university, and a number of other universities. he is a co-author of "defending the filibuster.
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last but not least, we will have james walder who has worked in the house of representatives and the senate and is the executive director of the senate steering committee. he has been included on roll calls and is one of the top 50 staffers on capitol hill and is an adjunct professor in the area of politics and the congressional and presidential tudies program at catholic university and the author of a forthcoming book. he has also published articles from the journal of legislative studies and the forum. i will turn over to you, brian. you can speak from there if you prefer. >> i prefer to sit down but i think everybody else will end up speaking from the podium so i will.
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i will speak until i no longer can speak. how much time do i have? do i have 13 hours? > no, you don't. >> to be clear -- i am someone who spent seven years here at the heritage foundation and wrote quite a bit about the filibuster. my opinion of the filibuster is pretty simple. it protects transparency. just look at the whole idea of the filibuster. we are talking about extended to debate. right now, there are nominations by dead senate majority leader and not one word from the senator has commenced on that ilibuster. in the senate, you frequently have a fake filibuster where you don't really have any debate happening. you have the majority leader filing cloture a nomination before they were spoken when you get into these issues, it gets
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complicated. the senate rules are complicated but to take a back a step, it is simple to understand. what is a filibuster protect? it attacks the american people to participate in this process is to understand what the government is trying to do and know something about these nominees before they are confirmed. they're not inside the beltway in washington, d.c. they're watching it on c-span and reading about it in the newspaper and cloture is filed and you have two days to figure out something about a nomination on the senate floor. don't have much time to get up to speed. i wrote two papers for the party's foundation. one was "the filibuster protect the rights of all senators and the american people. i wrote that in january of 2011. the theme of that was the filibuster in the senate protect the rights of senators to debate legislation thereby protecting the interest of the american people. the filibuster actually realize the founders' intent that the
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senate slowed the legislative process to insure deliberation before passing a bill. if the filibuster is tossed aside for nominations, even just for executive-branch nominations, it is not too far or too difficult to see where that extends tio judicial nominations and over to legislation. if you look at the senate rules, there is no distinction in the senate rules and cloture roles between judicial nominations, executive-branch nominations, and legislation. the other paper i wrote was "tyranny in the united states senate. i argued that the senate majority leader has regularly used procedural tactic called filling the amendment tree to restrict senators rights to offer debate. my point there was that you have a situation on the legislative side where the majority leader
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and it is not unique to the current majority leader but it has happened more recent where the majority leader brings up legislation, offers amendments that make technical changes to the bill for the sole purpose of blocking other members of the senate for participating in the process. it blocks them from being senators and what goes forward to the house or the president. this is what is happening now. in my opinion, the left wants to eize more power. they want to do so, they want to load up the executive branch, maybe the judiciary, and maybe they will go forward with legislation to forge a liberal agenda. this will be something that will take republicans now. it might be democrats in the future but night -- right now it will kick the republicans to decide for the rights have been chipped away by not allowing hem to offer amendments, not
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allowing them to engage in extended debate. the senate is becoming more like a house every day where members do not have the power to get up, give a speech and offer an amendment, debate until they run out of breath until the cannot speak anymore, and that is something that is not good for ur republic. when you look at what is happening now, you are hearing breaking the rules to change the rules. what does that mean? the rules are very specific. the cloture rule, rule 22 -- when you read through the rules, you read the wealth of rules of the senate and you see the senate operates on a day-to-day basis in. hear them frequently asking unanimous consent to waive a ule here or there.
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that is the way the senate operates. has strict rules that they are consistently waving those rules by consent of all the members to move forward. what this would do is it would make a substantive change in the text of the roles. it would do so with a majority vote. you are are allowed to change the rules of the majority vote but to do so, the way you are supposed to do so, is to have actual debate on changing the rules vary during that debate, indeed a 2/3 majority to shut down debate. the senate has not been doing much over the past week. it had a couple of boats and there is not much we know of coming up in the next few weeks. not have that debate? had that debate for a week on the changing of the senate rules instead of using these nominations as a pretext to break the rules to change the rules. you hear the nuclear option. what does that mean? richard beth wrote in march of 2005 that beginning in the 108th congress, the term nuclear option has often been used to refer to a procedure or course of action that would meet this requirement of bypassing the
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obstacles posed by the usual procedures for considering procedural changes. critics of this form of action have used this term to connote a unilateral resort to such a course by a majority of my under not mind traditional practices in the senate especially -- that would undermine the traditional practices in the senate that have been held to characterize the body. you hear nuclear option. what happens when one side seizes power and takes the minority and says you cannot participate. you get note mutually assured destruction. the minority will use all their rights to block everything that happens in the senate. the senate becomes a ysfunctional body. the senate operates by unanimous consent to do so many things and that goes away if you have mutual assured destruction as
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he nuclear option. greg sargent previewed this in "the washington post"a few weeks ago. he wrote that senate majority leader harry reid is increasingly focused on the month of july is a time to exercise so-called nuclear option and rivas about -- and revisit filibuster reform. he has said he is all but certain that if the gop blocks three key nominations. he probably consulted with president obama and the need to revisit filibuster reform and the president has told the majority leader that he will support the exercising of the uclear option. it has been said that the senior democrats expected democrats to publicly push for it. the president has said he will be there to support senator arry reid.
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the stocks that nominations and we are dealing with executive-branch nominations. this initial push was not limited to executive branch. it is something that will bleed over into the judicial branch. will see judicial nominations subject to the same thing in the uture. how does this play out? we've got seven nominations right now that senate majority leader harry reid filed cloture on. e have richard cordray to be director of the consumer of financial protection, richard griffin to be in the nlrb, sharon bloch, mark gaston, nlrb, thomas perxz, secretary and of labor. these nominees for the national labor relations board are very controversial. after the court ruled that obama recess appointments of three members or invalid richard cordray was also part of a
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recess appointment that was not subject to a lawsuit and the supreme court will decide nlrb cases. this action would probably take these actions out of the court and that is in the interest of this administration not to have the embarrassment of the supreme court if they came out with a decision contrary. i don't know how this will play after a i would love to hear by other members of the panel how this will happen to understand specifically how the nuclear option would even come into play. what happens on tuesday morning if there is no agreement how oes it play out? is the threshold merely lowered from 60 to 50 votes or will all enate debate be declared dilatory? keep in mind two things -- when you look at this year, two of the biggest thing that happened politically were filibuster's. you hear the demonization of the ilibuster.
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they say it slows everything down and blocks legislation. my boss rand paul filibuster on the senate floor for 13 hours. that raised every americans' awareness of the potential use of drones domestically in the united states. the american people heard it and were educated and having a national debate. in texas, the debate over abortion was raised by an individual getting up and filibuster legislation in the texas state legislature. those are issues in the public to maine -- domain because of ilibuster. if either party back in 2005, republicans consider doing this for a 2013, democrats are. both parties should not consider doing this because it will ultimately destroy the nature of the senate and hurts our republic when you go down this road of making a very easy for the majority to steamroll the minority and not allow them to participate in the process. it would be really not wise for this to move forward. thank you.
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>> do you want to speak from there? >> sure. i came to the u.s. senate in 966. when the senate was run by two leaders senator mike mansfield of montana, the majority leader and senator everett dirksen other illinois, the minority eader. it was a very different senate then. he filibuster was attacked the becausen of the issue of civil ights.
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i remember just about nine years later, in 1975, when a republican vice president, nelson rockefeller, together with a bipartisan group led by ben senator walter mondale and hen senator from kansas, james pierson, republican, led a fight which basically was the nuclear ption. they were successful. they changed the cloture rule from 2/3 down to 60. now the proposal, i guess, is to change the cloture rule down to 1. i am the co-author of a book entitled "defending the
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filibuster. i wrote it with a gentleman who worked initially for senator paul tsongas of massachusetts and stayed on the hill for 30 years, ending up working for senator carl levin of ichigan. here reason we wrote this book is we saw the benefits of the ilibuster. when rich aronberg, my co-author, came into the parliamentarian's office in the late 1970's, we knew that in order to pass a bill that
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senator tsongas was interested in called the alaska lands bill, that the republican senator, senator ted stevens, would have to sign off on if we were to get cloture. this forced a bipartisan approach to that bill. the result was that that bill as adopted and signed by president carter but has been a successful build over the years. i would contrast that with the bill called the affordable care ct which was pushed through by senator harry re w any
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bipartisan support. for one goal that moment, that was possible because senator eid had 60 votes in his caucus due to the change of parties by senator arlen specter and suddenly, he had 60 votes. and he was able to successfully ush through that bill. i would contrast those two bills in terms of their support in the country. i don't think it is a good thing for bills to have no support rom the two parties. asically, what happened in the affordable care act was that the
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bill only had support from the emocratic party. that is one of the reasons why we wrote the book, "defending the filibuster. it is true that right now senator reid does not have the 0 votes in his caucus. and he is supposedly going to use "the nuclear option" change ll that. this is not the first time this issue has come up. when senator bill frist was the senate majority leader and was being frustrated by votes on judicial nominations, he proposed the nuclear option and
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he result was that a gang of 14, seven republicans and seven democrats, worked together and came to the floor and said no. we are not going down that road. and that was to stop senator frist. i would hope that as a result of the caucus on monday night there might be a similar group that would come to the floor and say, o not go down this road. having seen what happened in 1975 when the senate did go down that road, the repercussions asted for years.
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when the senate did go down that road, the repercussions lasted for years. and the bitterness lasted for years. it's not something i would ever wish for the united states senate. the senate is an institution that i love. i worked there for 35 years. i now teach about how congress works at george washington niversity. and i honor the senate. i can remember frankly that when this proposed, i went on the cbs evening news and suggested that if a group of senators would come to the floor and say stop the madness, we could stop it. and that's exactly what happened. and that's what stropped it.
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i sincerely hope that is what happens after that caucus on monday night and a group comes to the floor and says stop the madness. >> good afternoon. thank you to heritage for hosting us and thank you for letting me appear with these distinguished panelists. since i'm going last here i thought i would take a step back and try to put it in context and provide a framework we can think bout what has been said. i think hopefully this will help us understand how we arrived at where we are today. it will help us understand why i think it's basically impossible o limit the use of the nuclear
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option in this instance to executive nominees which is what the majority has claimed they would like to do. and then lastly, and i think most importantly for the long term health of the institution but also the republic why i think why it is ultimately impossible to transform this senate into a purely majoritarian body like the house of representatives. because of that i think it should give them pause in their efforts. if they go through with this it may result in more dysfunction at the end without arriving at the end point in which they would like to. i think first here, imagine a continuum, think back to college and high school. think of that as a rules based continuum. the house is obviously more rules based and the senate is etter relations based. the senate informal rules govern things. precedence, norms, traditions, acceptable behavior. this tells us something
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important about the legislative process. in the house it's rules based. the important decisions are made before they get to the floor. the floor is just to ratify those decisions. in the senate is legislative process is critical. because of that you often see large bipartisan majority support legislation once it goes through that process in the committee and on the floor. this is really important for the current discussion and the current issue the nuclear option and what is going to happen next week. the legislative process in the senate reveals important information about the level of resolve of both sides. nd because of the process by which legislation is considered, the minority learns a lot of important stuff about how hard majorities are willing to push to get what they want. and the majority learns important information about how hard the minority is willing to push and react if the majority tries to restrict their rights
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n some manner. this process has worked reasonably well throughout the institution's history i would think. owever, today in the contemporary senate we have a problem because the legislative process no longer performs this function. today the process is almost completely broken down. it's almost nonexistent. and because of that senate majorities have largely acted to produce this by trying to achieve policy out comes without the input of senate minorities and even over their objections. if you look at what happens in the senate the number of amendments proposed, amendments that a senate goes down to the floor and offers to a bill has declined 2,164 to 974. the number of minority amendments proposed on the floor has declined from 1,043 to
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400. and i think more importantly the number of recorded votes on amendments has declined from 428 to 228 in the last congress. and so when this happens, when there is virtually no floor process, the legislative process no longer tells us much about what side thinks is important and how hard they are willing to fight for their goals. when that happens the current ay of business creates dysfunction because in a relation al body when you don't have a lot of rules to tell you what you can and can't do, you have a lot of leeway to do things. now both sides have incentive to use that to persuade the other side what they want to do is important and they will push as ard as they can to get it. what does this have to do with where we are today? number one the current situation
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is unsustainable and the way we have bills on the floor tells us nothing about what each side thinks is important. i think how the situation is resolved next week will encourage senate to employ nuclear options. this reinforce it is dynamic we've seen. this is no surprise we are where we are today. we have seen this play out over the years. in january 2011. the senate to diffuse a similar situation passed a compromise rules proposal. we eliminated the requirement that amendments be read and we eliminated the practice of secret holds. the senate reformed the executive process where some were removed from the process entirely and others were given a new special expedited process. in exchange the minority was given a gentleman's agreement where if they refrained from filibuster the majority would
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allow them to offer amendments. that fell apart. fast forward to october 2011. a precedent was created where amendments could be offered on a bill because they had been shut out during regular course of business. majority leader reid didn't like that so he employed the nuclear option to get rid of that. fast forward to january 2012 the president disregarded the constitution and made appointments even though they were in session. the supreme court has decided to take up that case. in january 2013 there was yet another bipartisan rules agreement designed to diffuse tension and to discourage the majority from going nuclear. but i would argue that none of these instances especially the negotiated compromises actually orked.
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they may have made the situation even worse. this is why we can't restrict what is happening next week if it does in fact happen to just executive nominees because the minority will be in a worse position despite having cooperated in these other instances in the past. because the majority learns a lesson each time. the majority is rational and it says this works. if we threaten and bluster and beat our chest, the minority will give us what we want. right now i think we are seeing that understanding unravel. but they can still take that lesson from this situation. and if they do, you could see this threat employed again on d.c. circuit court nominees on a supreme court nominee. on controversial legislation. there is no rational reason why they would limit themselves to just executive nominees. and this brings me to my concluding point on why i don't believe the senate can become the house. this has to do with the priding officer. despite the wishes of the
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current majority the senate cannot become a body like the house. this is critical because the nuclear option whereby they would effect that change is dependant upon a complacent priding officer. yet the constitution stipulates the president is our presiding officer. this is problematic because in a rules based body like the house you have to have a strong officer, you have to have the speaker to enforce order. throughout history all senators in all parties have been hesitant to enforce order. this is because the vice president is not a member of the senate. he may not be a member of the same party as the majority party. and even if he is, it's not clear he'll have the same priorities as the majority party. so what does all this mean? if in fact the nuclear option is employed next week, it will estroy the comedy on the
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relational aspect of gnat decision making is based and it will shift toward this rules based model the house follows. however the stipulation that the vice president is our presiding officer will prohibit us from getting all the way there. the result will be even more of a dysfunctional body and can't perate at all because we don't have a strong presiding officer ike the speaker. yet the comedy that bob referred o is gone. so we're in this weird no man's land where it's very difficult to do anything. that would be bad for the republic and terrible for the enate. >> we will be happy to answer questions. the only thing i ask you wait for the microphone so our viewers around the country can ear your question.
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if i would identify who you are when you ask the question. i would ask one thing and that is to ask a question please and not make a statement. >> can i ask one from the podium? > of course. >> i want to ask these guys what do you think is going to happen? i think bob would have a great perspective on what is actually going to happen on tuesday morning? how does this play out? this presumes that there is no gang that comes out of the monday night discussion. >> unfortunately what i think is going to happen is that senator reid is going to play out this ame. and the result i think will be disastrous. >> i agree. >> any questions from the udience?
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>> the heritage foundation. this is primarily a question for james although the other two might want to comment on it too. you talked about the merits of the filibuster whether there is a option to employ the nuclear option. we know within the context of the senate rules today, there is a majority approach with regard to the budget. to what extent oh do you think that the legislative dysfunction is resulting from that particular element of senate rules as it applies to the budget and therefore to the broad array of legislation in terms of the relationship based decision making process that you eluded to. >> i think the budget is a great example of why rules aren't a panacea. the budget is a majoritarian document in the senate. majority can pass it.
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we didn't pass one for several years and finally passed one. we are far apart on agreement for a budget with the house. it goes to show you significant conflict can exist even in a majority body and dysfunction can still exist. >> could i just chime in because i helped write the budget act. i was part of a group that senator byrd called in to his office to go through the budget act and make sure that "it worked. my contribution was writing in to the budget act what was then the standard unanimous consent agreement providing that amendments had to be germane. that there was a limitation on
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time of amendments, providing that the motion to proceed would not be debatable. i will tell you that in the 1970's when that act was written, there were many attempts to overcome the idea of senate filibusters. and that was just one of them. the war powers act was another. the whole idea of the legislative veto was very popular in the 1970's. and many things were written into law that avoided a filibuster. this was seen as a way of getting around the problems of dealing with senate bills on the floor.
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unfortunately, i can tell you that our intentions were good. but by creating something called the reconciliation bill, we created a monster. again, a bill that can pass with only majority support and has een repeatedly used by various presidents. the whole idea of the budget process was to cut the president out of the budget. but presidents have learned they can use this budget process hether it was president ronald reagan who got through his budget program or president bill clinton who got through his budget program or president george w. bush who got through is tax cuts. bills that would never have
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passed had they been subject to a senate filibuster. and in that sense, there is blood on these hands because i helped create it. sorry. >> this question is for mr. dubs. it's unclear to me there is anything that would limit the precedent we're talking about to certain types of nominations on the executive calendar. is that you're view? >> that is exactly my view. my reaction is you go down this road and you have turned the senate into a manualty institution and you have made it much like the house of representatives. and my reaction is the senate was never intended to be like the house of representatives.
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>> what types of things would parliamentarians office onsider? >> unfortunately if you look at what the ability of the parliamentarian's office to control what the chair has said, i came to the senate when the vice president of the united states humphrey cared not a whip for the advice of the senate parliamentarian and made rulings consistently that were against the advice of the parliamentarian. my reaction is that a determined vice president can return to that model. now the problem with that is that suddenly the vice president plays a role which frankly hasn't been played since hubert
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humphrey. he had no role in the johnson administration. he was totally shut out. and so he found himself a home in the senate. since jimmy carter gave mondale an office in the west wing, vice presidents have really enjoyed in effect becoming part of the executive branch. i don't know whether vice president biden would enjoy reverting to the vice presidential role of hubert humphrey or not but he would have to if he were going to play that role. >> i have just -- i would like your thoughts if you could share a little more information on your boss' filibuster maybe some background. >> sure.
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again, the filibuster has been demonized so much but most people look at that as a good use of the filibuster. it's been perceived it was a filibuster of the nomination of john brennan and it was in a sense but it wasn't also. for him to get the floor and do what he did, he was actually blocking the majority leader from filing a motion to proceed to that nomination. and i'll tell you, it's out in the public do main he's written an on ed in the washington post about how it played out. but i can tell you he didn't plan on speaking for 13 hours. he jokes he wasn't wearing his comfortable shoes. he was on his way to the senate floor. he had done some preparation for
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the filibuster that he wanted to do but it wasn't intended on being on that day, it was intended on the next day and he didn't intend talking for 13 hours. as it went on i was down watching him. it was amazing to me that he can speak for hours on end off the cuff. he did have notes and that was spurring thoughts. but it was amazing to see him go off the cuff an hour at the time. then i think it kept him going when other senators came down to the floor and asked questions of him. senator ted cruz and mike lee were the first two to come down and ask questions and they had a back and forth with question and answer. he couldn't yield the floor for any point. he could yield for questions. e did yield for questions. and as you saw if you watched it, there were many senators that came down. a democrat from oregon came down to get involved in that. it was an amazing thing to watch.
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it is something that raised that issue to the level that it's talked about more so than it was efore. hat was important. it spurred a response from the obama administration. i think by the end of it he was wear and i don't think he's excited to run down and do that gain anytime soon. but it was a great opportunity and i think a lesson for a lot of people. and one of the roles of the senate is talking, getting eople involved, getting people to think about issue that is they may not have thought about before. >> if i could just comment, to me the glory of the senate are the people like rand paul.
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i remember when senator william approximate mire left the enate. he had singlehandedly stopped a roject called the sst and he had done it by talking. it is something that the house has no rule that allows people to talk. only the senate has a rule that allows people to talk. and if you get rid of that, to me you have gotten rid of the senate. >> i would just add, it's not just talking, right. we've already seen the restriction in your ability to propose amendments, germane or otherwise on the floor. that's going to continue even more if they get rid of the filibuster for executive nominees and potentially other things. it's the ability to talk.
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but both of those are crucial planks in what makes the senate great. >> i'm barbara dean. i hear you talk about if this happens on tuesday what the result will be theoretically. what will republicans do, do you think, if reid goes forward with this and wins? what will be the response? > it will not be pleasant. you will have poured poison into a well that will be there for years and years and years. >> that was kind of my first question to it matters what happens. it's unclear exactly what happens.
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are we going to have reid go down to the floor and say extended debate is dilatory i'm shutting it down. or does he say the 60 vote threshold is unconstitutional and need to be lowered to 50 votes or a simple majority. if that happens, if you still ave the procedure in tact just the threshold lower you have the opportunity to have debate time on a nomination for eight hours with seven nominees. multiply that out, that could take a while. it's unclear exactly how this is going to play out because we don't know what the precedent is going to be going forward. ome people may know. but i have not seen exactly what reid is intending on doing. >> i would just like to say how the minority respond is just as important as whether or not reid goes forward because if the minority chooses not to respond or to respond in a way that does
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not cause discomfort with the majority, then the dynamic that i laid out since january of 2011 if not before continues. and we find ourselves at another crisis point in the future. >> i would not count on senator cconnell not responding. >> we do have time for more questions. anyone else? >> i share your concerns and the complaints of the minority party, i don't think we've really discussed the role that the minority party has had in getting us here. there are legitimate complaints or criticism that is the majority is making that it takes nine months for the average ominee to have a vote.
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so if the panel could respond to ome of the criticisms that the ajority is making. >> i think both parties are guilty of it. both parties obstruct. look what happened in 2005. emocrats were obstructing. democrats were rewarded if not, maybe just not punished. i think when you get into nominations your average american's eyes glaze over unless you are talking about a cabinet level nominee or supreme court nominee. i don't think they are decisive political issues. but i don't think anybody has been punished for slowing down nominations. maybe at times. i'm sure there are members of the senate that want to block a
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nomination for the export bank nominee. hey want to slow the process down of certain institutions and that is part of the political process. nothing prevents the majority leader from saying i'm going to file a cloture. i'm going to make you come down and talk. there really is nothing preventing that from happening today. we live in a world in the senate where you see clot tour filed. there isn't much debate. it's usually an empty chamber. you have this vote pop up in two days and everybody runs away or they set a 60 vote threshold. it doesn't say you can't keep the process going and grind down. you just don't see that happening.
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negotiate party has done that. it has happened in the past but in recent memory i don't remember that happening. >> when you said the mansfield foundation. i remember the senator very ell. he was absolutely loved by his fellow senators. he was the most fair majority leader i have ever seen. but i remember also on his watch the filibuster of the nomination of lyndon johnson to put abe ortiss as chief justice of the supreme court. i remember how uneasy a lot of people were because they had never seen a filibuster of a supreme court justice.
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and it was led by robert griffin and it was successful. and then of course we learned more about abe fortiss and we were probably a little glad that he was not the chief justice. and then i saw the filibusters of carzwell to be on the supreme court and that was successful. and the more we learned about him, we were kind of glad that he wasn't on the supreme court. so i don't see filibusters as a terrible thing. to me, they can be very educational. >> i would like to emphasize that brian mentioned the process and how it's broken down.
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and we don't have a process metrics do matter. if you take the number of nominees that have been submitted or proposed to the senate and then take the number that have been confirmed you get a percentage. that percentage for president obama is higher than it ever was for president bush and higher than it ever was for president clinton. if you look at the ones that have been slowed down. if you look at the nominees on
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the calendar today, the nominees, the pace is controlled by democratic committee chairman. and then finally if you look at any nominee that is we blocked and i'm not sure that there's been many. there have been two i believe. the democrat, the current majority you could say started this. we don't need to get too far away from the fundamental issue at stake had is how the senate makes decisions and how it is set up to make decisions. >> we have time for one more question. >> i have a question to dr. wallner and his argument there would be a break down and a no man's land if the rules are changed and attempt to make the senate a more rules based institution. the constitution doesn't have very many restrictions on the senate. i mean it does say the vice president is the president of the senate but doesn't define the rules. what stops the senate from adjusting and creating something
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more like a speaker of the house position even if it would be in a no man's land for a short period of time, couldn't it adjust to becoming an effective body again? >> the senate adjusts all the time. it changed the way it makes decisions since the beginning in response to different issues. it determines it's rules internally but it does so in response to external factors. it does that. but it does it together. it does it in a bipartisan way. and because of that bipartisanship it is inherently stable. today we're in an unstable situation because of the lack of mutual agreement and mutual buy in on how the senate is going to make decisions. not on what the legislation is
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going to be but on how we're going to consider the legislation. first, we saw prior to this over the past several years this majority use it's prerogatives to approximate for a majority rule in the house. block motions to proceed to block out extreme efforts to get votes on things. filing chloe tour on the same day a bill is brought to the floor. you still have to entice and force through public pressure a few republican senators in the minority to join with you. once that breaks down, there is only one other place to go and that is to get rid of the cloture rule. i don't think you will be able to find sustainable order in this mode. >> if i could add, you say the vice president could become like the speaker. i can robert byrd when he was majority leader informing the
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vice president, senator mondale who was speaking at the time that he had no right to speak to the senate. and only through unanimous consent could the vice president speak. i can tell you the senate has done everything in its power to minimize the role of the vice president. and they have been quite successful at that. i don't think the vice president ever could play the role of the speaker. i can tell you one former speaker of the house who tried and that was john garner when he was vice president. and he was the reason that the office that i finally held
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senate parliamentarian was set up because he started making statements that when the chair was authorized to point conferees he would make some independent decision on them. that was not what the senate had in mind. and they set up the senate parliamentarian's office in 1937 to tame that particular vice president. >> efficiency is not inherently good. we don't want an inefficient senate, we want a senate that works slower so the american people can participate. what bothers me many people look at the american people and say you show up and vote and that's the last we want to hear from you. this is a process that is ongoing where people get to talk
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to their members of congress and say hey, you know that nominee coming up, here are my feelings about that nominee. if you have an efficient senate that will deteriorate. why need debate at all? why not let the leader take up anything he wants and no debate and just vote. vote on whatever legislation and approved amendments that you want? and the answer is we don't want the senate to work like that. it's never worked like that and it's been a pretty good institution. the american people don't like the house and don't like the senate.
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it's legitimate to look at congress and be upset about it but the reason why they have such low approval ratings is because all the deliberation is out in public. the executive branch doesn't do that. all their discussion is behind closed doors. you don't see people fighting and arguing. the administration speaks with one voice the president of the united states. the senate speaks with hundreds of voices. it looks like they are yelling and arguing. but that's the way our founders wanted it to have an inefficient senate that doesn't get things done quickly but gets things done eventually. >> i want to thank everyone for coming including our c-span viewers. and thank our panel with a round of applause. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] it inincluded segments in
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the state of the union address including 2012. we share the frustration senator reed has talked about. we have highly qualified executive ranch nominees up on the hill who continue to be obstructed, held up for over 100 days. that's not how the system should work. when it comes to next steps, we defer to senator reed and we are very appreciative for all that he has done, is doing, and will do to ensure that the president's qualified nominees are confirmed. president believe they should go through with the nuclear option? obama was in the senate, he once said that when the roles were reversed and the majority was threatening to use the option he said, i fear the partisan atmosphere in washington will be poisoned to the point that no one will be able to agree on anything.
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it is not what the founding fathers had in mind. given his previous statement, i think you would agree with senator mcconnell, right? >> he would agree with this statement from president -- senator mcconnell. >> i think you would agree with this quote. they should have simple up or down votes. that was senator mcconnell spring 2005. citing then senator obama's comments, the situation has gotten exponentially worse since in the last several years under senator mcconnell leadership of the republican minority, the obstructionism has doubled. the number of days the nominees , the kinds of obstacles and gridlock created up,his refusal to take
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consider, confirm highly qualified nominees. look at gina mccarthy. there is no question about her qualifications. by any measure, she is enormously qualified for the position to which she has been nominated, a position she similarly held in massachusetts under governor mitt romney. richard cordray, here is somebody with support from ,epublicans and democrats someone who has republican state attorney generals supporting him , someone about whom not a single republican senator has had a bad thing to say when it comes to his qualifications to run this very important agency, the consumer financial protection bureau. he's done an amazing job as he andheld that position waited for actual confirmation
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from the senate. it's been two years. why is it blocky? republicans in the senate simply don't like the 's existencee cfp be of the law of the land. they lost that battle. the president insisted it be created and that it had strong powers to protect consumers when it came to their rights, using credit cards, student loans, mortgages. there is an enormous number of examples to demonstrate how effective already that bureau has been in protecting consumer rights. option would that potentially fundamentally change the nature of the senate. it would essentially become like the house. this is sort of playing with fire, is not? state president said in a of the union address, some of what is broken has to do with the way congress does its
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business. a simple majority is no longer enough to get even routine business passed in the senate. has been blameless and now both should put an end to it. for starters, ask them to pass a simple rule that all nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days. thattunately, recommendation has not been taken up by republican leadership in the senate. contained within that, those remarks that the president made in the well of the house at the state of the union address, with that has beenment exacerbated in some ways by some parties but there is no question that the world today is quite different than it was in 2005 when it comes to this issue in the construction is a we seen from republican leaders in the senate and republican members in the senate. it is not the same. it's a real problem.
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when it comes to senator reed, we defer to him on senate procedure, but we appreciate the support he has given and will give to the confirmation of the president's qualified nominees. jeff merkleyator recently talked about filibusters and gridlock in the senate. it was at this year's net roots nation conference. here is part of his comments. >> we need to get rid of the filibuster on the motion to proceed to the floor, straight up or down vote. conferenceget rid of committees. right now, there is no conference committee on the budget even though the house and senate have passed a budget because they are filibustering the conference committee. now, i ask you how could anyone object to the house and senate getting together and trying to reconcile the differences between the two bills? that is how dysfunctional the senate has become as a result of
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those who wanted to be dysfunctional. this is a key piece. and youre very powerful have dozens or hundreds of hugers and you have amounts to donates to super packs and campaigns, you can find a way past the super majority over time. if you are fighting for a progressive cause, for fairness, 1%,the 99% rather than the then the one percent uses the paralysis of the senate to block the opportunity to have a full debate and vote on things that will take america forward. that is why this should matter to all of us. i will be very brief. there is a nomination side and then there is a legislation side. i have described the legislative side. some changes we should also insist upon, 41 votes to extend they account for not extending debate and if the
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41 one to more debate, we should require that there has to be debate. people have to stand up and actually make their case before their colleagues, before the american people. the american people with all of your help can decide if they are heroes or bombs. that feedback will help us, hopefully, get a final vote, a simple majority, and take legislation forward. on the nomination side, we are crippling the other two branches of government. it was never envisioned in the constitution. in a longer discussion i would have more to say, but let me close with this. this hasr in all of been tom udall in mexico -- new mexico. traditionrom a family in which they knew capitol hill well and he, like i, was absolutely appalled by this dysfunction. he made the argument more clearly and forcefully that
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every two years we should start with a discussion of the rules that will be adjusted to keep the senate working as a legislative body. it used to be called the world's greatest deliver to body. wouldn't it be wonderful if we could say that again? been hereoved to have today and please make sure you extend your love to him and his appreciation for the battle he has been leading. thank you. [applause] >> critics have accused senate leaders of shifting their position on the filibuster for partisan reasons. mitch mcconnell speaking on the issue in 2005. >> the 1970 cloture rule did not pertain to the president's nominations. during the senators debate on the option of the 1917 cloture rule discuss its
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possible application, nominations. because they wanted to preserve the right to filibuster nominees, rather senators did not discuss applying the cloture rule to the notion because of filibustering nominations was alien to them. it never occurred to anybody that it would be done. in 2008, democratic leader. reed argued against what he called "the nuclear option." >> the nuclear option, you just mentioned in chapter seven of your book, it describes the circumstances with the nuclear option. just so our viewers can better understand what the nuclear option is and what likelihood is there that we are going to have to face nuclear-like option questions again? >> what the republicans came up with was a way to change our country forever.
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they made a decision that if they did not get every judge they wanted then they were going to make the senate just like the house of representatives. we would have a unite camera legislature -- unicameral legislature. in the house of representatives leader,he lucy is whether they wanted it, how sir tor pelosi, it could get done. the senate was set up to be different and that was the genius, the vision of our founding father that this bicameral legislature was unique and had two different jobs. one to pour the coffee into the saucer and let it cool off. that is why you have the ability to terminate and filibuster. they wanted to get rid of all about and that is with what the nuclear option is all about. will there a likelihood we face circumstances like that again? >> as long as i am the leader, the answer is no.
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just forgethould it. it is a black chapter in the history of the senate and i hope we never, ever get to that again. will ruino believe it our country. i said during the debate that in all of my years of government it was the most important thing i ever worked on. >> majority leader harry reid will address filibuster rules on monday when he speaks at the center for american progress in washington. live coverage beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> it is absolutely vital that we identify our enemy correctly because it is very hard to find someone you do not identify correctly. these attacks on our homeland and others such as the 2005 london bombing have been connected by a common motivation and a singular purpose -- the underwear bomber, the times square effect, the tsarnaev or
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others, major hassan who announced at fort hood he was killing the name of a law. the murder of free and innocent people whom they regard as infidels in order to accomplish that goal. speak about social media and the old adage that you cannot establish a relationship are in a crisis. we have a significant presence on social media where we have engaged, not only and a one-way communication but in a dialogue with people in the community about all sort of issues day in and out. use social media effectively in the minutes after the blast to inform people as to where they could go, what happened, where to meet loved ones. there was enormous amount of upset and we used social media to tamper that down. >> this weekend, the house and senate homeland security committees look at the boston marathon bombing saturday at
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10:00 a.m. eastern. bill bennett questions if college is worth it. tv," withan history u.s. marines fighting the banana wars sunday at 1:00 p.m. >> former u.s. ambassador and new mexico governor bill richardson along with a former u.s. ambassador to south korea recently spoke about the relationship between the u.s. and north korea. place in newn took york city and was hosted by the asia society. korea and a personal i am a begin with, relative newcomer here. i started in the fall and i was a journalist for nearly three decades before that. in thinking about tonight program, i was reminded about something that happens fairly frequently when you were on the
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international desk, as i was for many years, and something that happened to international news editors the world over. call, oftent a during the day, but quite often it was the middle of the night. kim jong-il and kim jong-un, kim il-sung, has said they want to rain fire on south korea. to destroy the american aggressors. he was to take a shot at japan. lot more thanas a rhetoric. a vessel had been sunk, a south korean vessel. a missile had and launched, a bomb detonated. response aftere we race to digest the headlines and respond would be, don't worry it is all bluster, it is meant for internal consumption. everyone calm down. as many of you know,
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this spring in particular, calm down has seemed a bit off the mark. we have had major provocations and they have come from a relatively new and even by the standards of north korea, a little understood leader. we also have a brand-new, and i think it's safe to say, ill untested leader in the south. if there were ever a story or an issue that would warrant beyond the headline treatment, it is probably this one. for beyond the headlines treatment, you could do no better than our guest tonight. 13 trips to north korea, but they worked very hard for a very long time on these issues. richardson's resume at first glance does not scream "korea." he has been energy secretary, governor of new mexico. he is here because of his longtime involvement on the north korea question and because he has, on so many occasions,
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been there for peace and tougher climates. he has negotiated with saddam hussein and many others. he has had eight of those trips to north korea that i mentioned earlier. earlier this year, ambassador richardson, governor richardson, leadersinvestor of including google chairman eric schmidt and he has a wealth of experience in a place where most people have none at all. as ambassador donald gregg, whose career has been profoundly tied to the korean peninsula as ambassador to korea, national leftity advisor, after he government, he was chairman of the korea society here in new the chairmans now emeritus. he has been and still is an advocate for greater engagement with the north and he has been there five times. to johnecial welcome
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williams. until recently, he was international at a tour at the bbc and i held that same position at abc and i would say whenever i was in a pickle, quite often, i would call or e- mail john who always had an answer and it was always an intelligent answer. when i left abc, someone asked you about potential candidates to replace me. when john's name came up, and if yous an exact quote, " get john williams, you won't ever miss me for a moment." so now john is the one taking those calls in the middle of the night on this and i don't know how many other global monitors -- global matters. we are streaming this event, as we always do, live and around the world. i know we have an audience at our center in seoul tonight, or not tonight but friday morning. those of you who are out there, you can e-mail questions to the moderator or post a twitter
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#atasia. up for then open it questions and the broader audience beyond this room. please join me in welcoming bill richardson. [applause] >> thank you, john. thank you very much. i wasst time i was here, running for president. i notice you didn't mention that, john. that's ok. [laughter] here andcibly brought he wasw how insistent and how dearly we miss him. it's an honor to be at the asia society. i feel like i have arrived. the establishment has accepted me as a maverick negotiator. especially with ambassador gr
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egg, possibly the most knowledgeable person in the world on the korean peninsula, so i'm probably going to defer to a lot of his opinions. let me go right into the issue. let me answer the five most often asked questions about north korea concluding at the end with how we improve the relationship -- the apocalypse. how can we avoid armageddon with north korea? what do we need to do? is it just us and others? nonpolitical actors? etc. i say this because lately i have been unfavorably compared to dennis rodman. why is this issue important?
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obviously, i think we know the answer. in the great introduction setting of the event, what are the north koreans up to? what is their strategy with this new leader? leader.hree, the young is he in control? he like? what is he trying to do? number four, is there a chance in the wishful thinking of some of a regime change? is there a chance that we just do nothing that the regime will collapse. who can influence them? what can we do about north korea?
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let me going to the first one. what should be our goal? it should be how do we dunec learize and get them back to the table? ashby the fundamental goal. why is this region important? -- that is the fundamental goal. the fact that we have 30,000 american troops and there are land lines there and they are custom in danger. the fact that north korea has nuclear weapons, some say up to six missiles. with ament of missiles range of certain, but clearly developed. 1.2 million military in arms, men and women. leader.edictable
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this is critically important. china's presence in the region and at region vitally important to american interests. number two, what are they up to? in the past, there has been the rhetoric,l and the take some shots and north korea, find the mosys injury words -- words, and scare everybody and make the deal. , greatdeal of food, fuel framework, i am generalizing. , scarethe board everybody. be very hostile, but eventually
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show your cards as to what you want. the case now? know andr is, i do not i do not think so. let me also say they even though i've been to north korea eight times and i refer to as the foremost specialist in the country, i always say i do not know what they are going to do next. they are unpredictable. i do not know where all of the power centers are. and if anybody says they are like us when they negotiated, they are not. they do not think like we do. they do not negotiate like westerners do. their idea of negotiation is not a quid pro quo, but instead their view is, ok, we are going to make a concession. we are going to give them a little time so that arrive at
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her conclusion. -- at our conclusion. that is their idea. i would add one more element to why is that in our interest to improve the relationship. that is humanitarian. we have a young man and north korea detained by the name of canada-based, a tour operator -- bay, a tour operator. the cries for his release have not been as strong as other detainees. let me get back to the second issue and that is what are they up to? , kimi was a north korea un said we want- to improve the economy, tokens of the quality of life -- focus
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on the quality of life which are no is not a good and secondly continue our nuclear weapons program. parallel goals that he gave in a speech and has continued giving. that could be a change in policy. there was a view they would learize, they shut they took certain steps. but this time, there is nothing at the end of the tunnel that suggests that is something they are prepared to do. that does not mean they will not. i do not think they have shown their final cards. they continue missile launches, hostile rhetoric, underground tests. , have noter cases
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even hinted at having high- profile americans, and bring -- come and bring americans and others back. in the old days, the used to be the -te -- c-team. -- a-t became the 18th team. there seems to be a view that north americans are sending a signal we do not like. we have told you they should not come and if they continue, we will not let them go. that is a possible change in policy, but again, who knows. let me go to the young leader.
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or 29, i notice unlike his father is a better politician. to speak he seems to move around like a politician. when your brow somebody like me was been around 12 elections, you know is how these guys shake hands and move around and give a speech. he is more politically at ease than his father. to connect a better with the average north korean, is as we know, this society that engages in many brand -- brainwashing of the people. at the same time, this is a society that reveres leadership.
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what is he like? very few have met him. the chinese envoy have met them. perhaps donald p. gregg has an knows more about him. and by the way, we have an excellent intelligence agency. nsa, cia, they are excellent. when it comes to north korea, we do not have much. i hope i'm not violated classified information. there is little we can pin down about this man. , i do not see any possibility. there are those who say the economy is going to collapse, it is in terrible shape. people are starving. no question. every single moment that might lead to an insurrection may be there.
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internally, i do not see it happening. jong-un has wide support. a lot of my visits have the and guesthouses. i have ventured out into subways littlelds and i have a bit of an antenna. my sense is because of their very strict personality, he retains the support of his people. when his people do not see outside of what is capable in a democratic society, they do not see openness, they have hardly any internet. television is controlled. it is not like they have a lot of options to see alternative forces of leadership. last pointto the because i know we want to listen to don a getting a lot of
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questions from you. what do we do about all of this? i am not of the school, let's bomb them and continue sanctions. it we have or sanctions, they are not left. we have every conceivable, multilateral, bilateral sanction. and when you are squeezing an entity or group of people who do not have much, i do not know if that provides much of leadership -- much leverage. possibly there are some banking sanctions that have not gone into effect. but i am wondering whether our , i do not knoww what it is. i am not privy to the policy. kerry is aretary
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bright secretary of state. he has said things as seen -- as a senator that makes sense. a new kind of engagement. i do not know what we are planning. it is not my role to examine what we are planning because i do not know what it is. do about north korea? way, innt and by the the very nice introduction, you can see i talked to some of the people of the world like saddam hussein and castro and north koreans. president clinton used to say, let's send richardson, bad people like him. , it i am trying to say is
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is important nonetheless to engage bad people. do it right. don't necessarily offer concessions just because you're meeting. i do think engagement is better than isolation. isolated north korea is not working. it is not going to work area it takes two to tango. when north korea does not respond, it makes it hard to have a concrete six party policy , and asian policy, korea policy. i will conclude with this. what are the main entities and actors that we need with north korea? we need out-of-the-box diplomacy. envoys.perhaps, special perhaps, sports diplomacy. i am one of those who do not begrudge the dennis rodman and others who might be able to open
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up a nation. donald p. gregg bross the philharmonic orchestra -- brought the philharmonic orchestra which i thought was a great idea. south korea is well-positioned, the new leader, she is the .aughter of a former president not exactly a progressive, a hardliner he was. she has those credentials. movess made the right verbally. i do not know if it will lead to more engagement. i am encouraged that the talks opening, the industrial park. hollisain to north korea ease, this was the first time they shut down the facility when provides tension which
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50,000 jobs to north koreans. 50,000 jobs, that is a lot. they were willing to shutdown. there is a heartening. i will add a little bit. hon -- jong-un is trying to press his people and he -- impress his people and he has relatives who are affecting him negatively. he is preaching to an audience and showing his stuff before he formulates himself as the leader. part of what he is doing i strengthen and buttress his own internal position. here's been there a little over a year. says, everybody always china is the key. in china puts leverage on north korea, they are going to fold.
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you know what? i do not think so. here is why. hundreds andt want thousands of refugees streamed into their country. russiatwo, china and have a stringent alliance which is because it is a little troubled. alliance whichew is because it is a little trouble. possibly they are talking to each other about north korea. there have been some signs and that china has lost a little bit of his patients with north korea. with north korea. that is over the latest tests. they have made overtures. the north koreans have gone to the human and participate in the drafting us on the toughest sanctions. they could be they are losing a little patience but are they
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really ready to put on the screws? the answer is, i do not think so. and if they do, with the koreans react? i do not think so. china has substantial leverage. what do we do? viewpolicy, i am of the that we should let these other actors, south korea, china, possibly two new that could play a role. they have the south korean heritage. one is the present the world bank. a very creative guy. i would love to see the world bank and eu do an economic study of north korea and just to study what they really need to read number two, -- but they really need.
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number two, tough for him politically. maybe have a human envoy. a canadian. i cannot remember his name. potential role for north koreans if they will accept. i had 15 minutes. i have gone 16. i will conclude with this. i do think some craters thinking thinking -- creative is needed. i do not know who has all of the answers. it is not always governments. sometimes it is scholars, out- of-the-box diplomacy, sometimes the u.n.. sometimes regular human beings. envoyses it is special like jimmy carter. maybe myself. sometimes it is a media.
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that is the kind of fresh thinking that needs to evolve. what is happening now, just in conclusion, is not good for the international community. it is not good for the region. it is not good for north korea. it is not good for the u.s. thank you. [applause] >> governor richardson, thank you for illuminating and stimulating start. it is always fantastic when you're asked to moderate a discussion and the main speaker asks five questions and answers five questions. this goes to show that journalists are redundant.
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let me remind people who might listening that we do welcome your questions. you can tweet us. we have #askasia. get to some of those questions over the course of the remaining time we have got. governor richardson, let me begin by asking you to paint the picture. you have had the privilege of going there eight times. many of us have not. said, it is fascinating that the young leader has the support of his people. on the streets of pyongyang and outside, what is life like for
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the people? what do they have to look forward to when they wake up every morning? >> there's a a large gap between the city and rural areas. they are in horrific shape. you can go onto the countryside and see some of the schools and tractors they are using -- some of the tools and tractors they are using and they are falling apart. if you going to the schools, there is no heat. they are the schools with huge loop -- huge coats on. there is no light. there is electricity shortage problem that i detected my last visit. those in north korea, the military provides the most viable jobs. the military gets a lot of the food, the humanitarian aid.
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there is a huge investment in weapons. , i did golast points with eric schmidt of google. in our visit, he took out his computer and his google stuff and he was the star of the visit. i was just another politician. the government, students, engineers crowded around him. they limited the internet. i believe our technology and the first of the internet and technology among the north korea people it's going to be a factor that will play a role in moderating the country. i wish i had more answers. i have had some success negotiating. back likes, i come
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the last visit empty-handed. micah says -- my which is a cannot launch another missile. they would not let me see kenneth bay. it is very difficult to predict next. diplomacy is about and he has had it takes two to tango. in this dance, there is a new president in the south. you know her or via you knew her. what likelihood does it take the daughter of a hardliner who can say things that you can see as a liberal that you cannot? what hopes do you have for her changing the dynamics? but i have a lot of hope for her personally. -- >> i have a lot up hope for her personally. i knew her as a young woman.
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i was in the cia when her mother was assassinated. she went to north korea in 2001 ong-un.e -- and met kim j i congratulate her for going to north korea. shouldn't we must look to the future and not to the past with bitterness. the descendent -- [indiscernible] much of hereen too being able to build that into her policy as of now. postelectionally reverberations as people get
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arrested for corruption. time.appens from time to i know that personally from my own experience. i am very hopeful that she can make a difference. players that you mentioned, she probably is best placed to open up some running room for other people. somethingke to say about the new head of the asia society. talk which she gave when she was head of the world food program. it is stunning. her knowledge of the food situation and her focus places like north korea and they need
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nourishment to infants quickly so they are not personally damaged. that allows for implementation. -- so they are not permanently damage. i was galvanized by that. we are going to try and do something about that and get other people involved. can buildof gesture trust aware there is no trust now. >> take us inside the oval office. what president park -- when president park came and sat down with president obama. how does the united states administration incentivize both sides in korea to try to move beyond where we are now? the truth is that only they can.
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would that be your sense that to the 2 main actors to shift our on the peninsula? -- you going to go back are putting it into a real-life life situation. i a bigrn is -- well am supporter of the president. policy over the years with the north korea has not been imaginative enough. president clinton framework was good. aesident bush moved from confrontation to more engagement. there are certain inconsistencies. view on this.'s we listened too much to south
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korea. to -- if i offend anybody, i do not care. somehow -- felt that we should respect the sanctity of our allies and politics. i've been asked many times, do not go. toy said you're going influence the south korean election. i said, they do not care about me. i did defer on those times to go. i did not this last time. basically, thee president probably said, hey, what do you think? what do you want? we will back you. why not to reach out to the reopennd find ways and the peninsula?
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why not to reengage humanitarian aid? why not try something new instead of cheerleading each other area -- each other. >> the governor touched leadership and whether is about north korea or syria or any of these vehicle really is in charge -- or any of these but mark -- any of these? and who is really in charge? im a slave ort is is he the guy calling the shots? that has to be the starting point to know how to move forward. >> a number of the things you said was right on the button. would you said a lot of the was kimics and threats
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established himself as a strong leader. well among his three sons. he was educated in part in switzerland. he knows more about the outside world than his grandfather or father. you that he has very strong political instincts. i think he is in charge. a regime is virtually nil. patience patients -- is going to get us nowhere. , presidentnt has had obama who i have strongly supported, has had strong questions with dylan with our congress thrust upon him -- has had strong questions with our
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congress thrust upon them. not many passionate advocates of north korea anywhere. a passionate advocate. i may have been there. i called north korea the longest running failure in the history of american espionage. i am qualified to say that. i'll chased him around unsuccessfully for about 30 years. they are a tough nut to crack. their big concern is their relationship with us. denucs the key to learization. we have to start from where we are and begin to build trust. >> let me add to that. don is totally right. they have said to me, you know the powers here.
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we should settle all of this. we should form an alliance. let's not overdo it here. ok, lesbiany nterlocutor -- >> the six party talks are vannished. i'm not saying you abandon the six party talks. ell in a way you do. the north korea's said if we reached out to them and said let's have a new os i don't know, they would jump at it. a lot of it is personal, eats ego, we're powerful respect us. i say the actions you take don't indicate you should get
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this respect. people start bombing and you -- don has an interesting theory about the bombing of that ship. when you start kidnapping people and doing the things you have, this rhetoric you have u don't instill much confidence. >> it's interesting you say that. the guy who was the former chinese ambassador in pyongyang 2006. a story that in he knew kim jung ill better than most. he would go for dinner n. 2006 they stayed up watching the u.s. midterm election it is two of them because kim was obsessed with u.s. politics. and the idea that actually they also view america as the big man and they have this idea
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that relationships are personal absolutely is the chinese view as well. they were fat nated and this guy is very interesting. so when the chinese essentially grow board of the history and impose financial sanctions on the north korean central bank which is a big thing for beijing to do and pyongyang does nothing. you pull it and nothing happens. >> the north koreans do not like the chinese. i was taken to a newly built museum of history because we flattened pyongyang in the war. there were marvelous battle paintings all around the ceiling and i said who are the bad guys and the answer was it was the chinese. and i talked to the chinese about their dealings with the
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north koreans and it's very difficult. and the north koreans don't like to be beholden to anybody ft. so that i think the chi niece have influence but i think it's limited influence. i think our ability to influence north korea is huge but our potential we limit ourselves by handcuffing ourselves with something called strategic patience. >> back to the chinese question because everyone says it why can't we get the chinese to do more? here is a another theory i have. and i'm not a china expert. i ask myself if china and the united states see each other as competitors, and i'm for engagement with china. i'm a free trader. i think we've got to deal with this huge emerging power in a positive way. but we're competitors. and i say to myself if i'm
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china and i see turmoil in northeast asia and the u.s. deploying resources and i don't want all of these refugees coming into my country, why should you help the u.s.? maybe i'll be challenged a china expert here. but that would be my thinking why should we help the u.s. even after pressure from the u.s. >> let me ask you a couple of questions. when kim jung ill took power in 2011 hopes emerged that the leader would bring about change in the isolated society. why do you think kim changed to change the country is it because of his belidge rant nature or the culture? >> i think it's a question of how you define change. i think he was smart enough to realize when he took power the
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first thing he had to do if he was going to be effective at all was establish his own legitimacy. that was the change he had to bring to north korea. and the idea of changing it to make us happier is still a ratherer low priorityty for him. he's not sure what it would gain from us because we don't really respond to much of anything he's done. when he first appeared on the scene in 2009, i sent a memo to the vice president saying why don't we invite him to the united states for an orientation tour? he's going to be running correia sooner or later and be around for 30 or 40 years. it would be helpful if he came and learn led something about us and us him. the invitation might not be accepted but the fact that it was offered would be recognized and it was turned down saying the republicans would laugh us out of town. i think that was a mistake.
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m glad you approve of dennis rodman. i wish it was michael jordan. but i'm all for the things you mention, more sports, more unorthodox kinds of things. bring them out of their isolation because by bringing them out of isolation they will realize it's in their own interest to change. that's how you get at it. in my early days in cia we had eight countries to bring about regime change. one was iran. we're paying the consequences of that. third was cuba. the bollless brothers tore up their list at that point. the way to change a regime is to help it change itself because it realizes it needs to change. that will only come as they become closer and more clearly oriented to the outside world.
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>> i don't everybody to leave with a view this is an impossible problem. by the way in politics there is sometimes problems that you can't resolve. i'm not getting into that. but i see a little light at the end of the tunnel. i see the absence of heating rhetoric lately. i see the case on talks maybe coming back, i'm talking about north korea. i see them bloating out. e want to talk to the u.s. bilaterally. and the north koreans don't come back and say then go to hell. i see some little movement. i see envoys from north korea going to certain parts of asia. i see some of the people that i dealt with nuclear negotiator. he's a pragmatist. i hope i'm not ruining him in
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north korea now. but some of the foreign ministry people. it's like you have the military. they are hard liners ft and my worry is the hard liners have the ear of kim. i think the foreign ministry types are reemerging. i recently met with the north koreans here in new york. they have a new team here. i said what about so and so, some of your friends? adopt overdo that. that's -- don't overdo that. so i see a little light at the end of the rhetoric tunnel. i think there is a little movement there. so i'm saying let's grab that movement. maybe the south korean president is the key. maybe some kind of new envoy or some kind of world bank
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initiative or something, u.n. > when you say that military of the hard liners, there is an interesting question coming in from the university of k chicago asking is the fact that the united states still has 30,000 people on the peninsula also a provocation particularly when they engage in war games with the south koreans at a time when it's quite sensitive and then the north koreans react and nobody is very surprised that the north koreans react? >> the north koreans have always reacted with great hoss tilt to our training exercises. when i was ambassador we had something called team spirit ich was a reenactment of our intervening to repel the north korean invasion. whenever we did that the north koreans went on major alert
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thinking we might be actually coming in. and i got the pentagon to cancel that operation one year. and that opened up all kind of things. we also got our nuclear weapons out of south korea. and the combination of those two things opened up all kinds of north south contact. and then dick cheney who was secretary of defense without consulting the state department put back team spirit. and the north koreans saw that as undoing everything we had done. they pulled out of the n.p.t. and a major crisis was caused. you've got to be consistent. we haven't done that. we always blame them for doing something. but they have the same men in dealing with us for a dozen years and they remember all the naughty things we've done. >> given things like face are so important in the asian culture. do you think sometimes we just don't get that?
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>> i won't say who but i was jong ill kim jong ill felt really dissed president bush said something about his height which is not overwhelming and it really bothered him. but in the action exiss of evil stuff they don't like that. they don't like to be lumped with other countries even though they sometimes act worse than them. military to military ties are always good. now i was an envoy president george w. bush in 2006, 2007. the north koreans came to me through new york and they said we want to do a gesture and we like you. i was about to run for president. i said don't broadcast that. so we want to give you some
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remains of american soldiers. and i had been working on that for years. a lot of korean families. i said are you sure you're going to give us? so i went to the national security advisor and i said this should be bipartisan. get me a republican counter part. he gave me the secretary of va under george w. so we both went and they turned over seven remains to us. we had proper ceremonies. they said we want to increase these military ties. there are more of these remains here. there are about a thousand according to some of the organizations that perblelies in this. i think is another area of potential cooperation that the political side says no don't do that because that's something they want.
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we pay them for that. but that's another area military to military. u.s. military to north korea military, south korea military, those joint exercises. the tell phones they have, things like that. symbolic things in asia are much more important than they are to us. >> let's open up for some questions on the floor. it would really help if you could say who you are before ou ask the question. >> i recently came back from burma and there was an assasination attempt where the north korean agents tried to assassinate some south korean officials. i wanted to know what -- the burmese didn't know what the purpose of such that i knew
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didn't know what the purpose of such an attack was and the korean tourists who i was traveling with had no compassion for the north koreans that they knew in seoul who had managed to escape north korea and flee into seoul. they just saw them at groups and the herently lazey south koreans i talked to had .o desire for a unified korea and it wasn't a replay of germany that was divided by cold war or a vietnam divided by -- >> what's the question. >> my question is could you please provide some insight to why south koreans especially young have no proltism for a united korea and what's the purpose of north korean agents
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for assassinating south korean officials? >> that took place in 1983. hey were trying to kill cung jung. he was late and they killed seven or eight people including the prime minute ter and several close friend of mine. it was one of several attempts to kill the president of south korea. >> the view of the kids in the south for a long time they were afraid of north korea when north korea was divided by the united states. south korea was much weaker than north korea and there was fear in seoul for years. now that fear is gone because seoul is so much stronger economically than north korea and with that fear has gone some feeling of sadness for the south. and defect ters are usually not
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warmly received. i worked with a lot of soviet defecters when i was with c.i.a. and they were never happy. home is home. and the reit they receive when they go over is never what they had hoped and they are always regarded as people who can't be trusted and regarded at the debris of a failing society. it's 60 ek i think years since the ceasefire was achieved and certainly it's not only intelligent failure but policy failure that we've just brought about nuclear weapons in the north and continued occasional firings yet every time administrations of both parties have had an tourg try and get into realistic
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negotiations with the north, there has been enormous attacks that we're selling out the south or lower morale. at one point i was told you could go forward with something like that if you get a half dozen senators and congressmen prepositioned to say this is a great idea. i wonder whether you see in the present congress any enlightnd personalities who might stand and endorse a real effort toward the north? and going to a more difficult one because the congress is very easy to understand. going to a more difficult one, we know what we have asked the chinese to do and why they felt they should not oblige us. what have the chinese told us to do recently? >> look, right now the days when partisanship stopped at
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the water's edge are over. almost every policy issue there is a political divide that is unacceptable. i've never seen it as bad as it is on egypt, on syria. on north korea, this is a chance where both parties, both senators from both -- you can be really tough and you're not going to have any political liability. i think that kind of limits our policy options. i'm not saying that north korea deserves to be praised. it doesn't. but that doesn't mean we don't y to engage in a more -- i won't say realistic, effective way. let's try something new. they have rhetoric. they do an under ground test. there are more sanctions.
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let's talk again. both side dance around. what is needed is some kind of new bipartisan view. and i don't have an answer so you're not looking at somebody that has got a clear answer. -- ain ink in attention tension. don is right. we have so many problems around the world, our own economy, this is pushed aside. and when the rhetoric heats up let's deal with it but we don't change. i think the chinese tell us okay, we're pressuring them. we're tough on them but they -- but there is so much we can do. i think there is a lot more the chinese can do. i've said that but whether the north koreans are going to listen to them, that's an open question. i think the chinese tell us we ought to do more. what we're asking them to do is to make up for a very
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ineffective policy on our part. i went to a meeting several years ago run by a brilliant chinese and we had sort of a mock six party talk. and she made it very clear that the chinese felt that the u.s. policy was the cause of the problem because we weren't offering north korea anything. all we were doing was dem grating them. i think i'm very glad that the president met president she and i think china is never going to be an ally but it certainly can be a partner at times. we have certain things in common with the chinese. the chinese do not want north korea to become a permanent nuclear power. i think we can work with them to work against that. but that is going to take more positive engagement on our part
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for that to happen peacefully. >> some questions in the back. >> earlier governor richardson you spoke about the importance of dealing with bad men. and i love the ideas about sing more imagination and soft diplomacy in dealing with south korea. how can we do that in a way that doesn't endorse their humanitarian violations and other problems? again, i notice there is an election in iran and now everyone is talking about a new moderate president there. i don't know if that's the case. i have my doubts. but i'm not saying there is in the international community there is a dual inconsistent
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policy but we've seen with iran that it hasn't developed a nuclear weapon, but they are a major oil power and major power in the region. we say okay let's give them another shot at dialogue. and they've got reprogressive tend sis there too. so what i'm saying with north is a is that one dialogue important. if you don't talk to each other, you just do it through rhetoric, press, who is tougher, it's not going to work. if you don't encourage other players in the region aren't encouraged to play a role, it's a problem. this is why i've said you need some creative out of the box thinking, out of the box actors. it's not only politicians and state departments that change things for the better.
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it's other entities. i'm saying i don't have the answer. but what we're doing and what is happening now in the international community in asia, the six party countries is not working for either side. >> let me jump in quickly. i think the single greatest diplomatic stroke the united states made since the end of world war ii was nixon's opening china. he did that when hand were dripping with the blood of 20 million people who died in the cultural revolution. was that endorsing what they had done? absolutely not. it was seen very correctly as the only way to get them to eventually stop doing that kind of thing. that's the point of dialogue. you're not saying it's okay we don't care what you do, we're saying get out of your isolation, get out of your cave
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and make yourself realize it's in your own interest to behave better toward your own people. seek the . does not denuclearization of other nuclear states like pakistan, israel or china. isn't the goal of denuclearization rather than including the u.s. umbrella and could the u.s. include the nuclear umbrella into the denuclearization formula? >> that's a good question. the last time i met with the north koreans was a year ago in march here in new york. these e provocative -- were people representing kim jong un and some pretty provocative things were said by
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the united states. we make it harder for ourselves when we fill our gaps of ignorance with prejudice as we have a tendency to do. and the second ranking person in the north korean delegation said if you would really treat us with respect and extend to us the same umbrella of nuclear protection that you extend to japan, we would give up our nuclear weapons flat. and the moderator -- it was run by the germ mans. nd they were aston nished to hear that. the north koreans have said that to me. >> the worry we should have as an international community -- i think the administration has tried to get nuclear countries to reduce, etc.
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but the real worry that i have is the export of nuclear materials, of enriched uranium. i raul being in north korea at a time when there was suspicion of a tie with syria and i think with burma too. i said you're not exporting your nuclear materials, are you? why are you doing that? and they said you know -- i said are you doing it and the answer was maybe. i said what do you mean, so you're doing it? he says we have no foreign exchange. i said that's not a good way to get foreign exchange. and then they shot back we're sanctioned by everybody. not justifying it. but that nuclear materials to ban it to al qaedas of the world. you get guys out on the black market trying to get some foreign exchange. so that's another reason i
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should have put it why is it important to reduce tension. you don't want that happening. it's not good whether it's pakistan or whether it's north korea or whether it's anybody. >> speaking to don's point though, do you worry that this country is not well understood by people at the top. it's certainly not well understood by the rest of us. and the same is true in reverse and actually what more can we do, because in a way china 30 or 40 years ago was not well understood either. and yet now we all better understand china because there are thousands of chinese students come and study here, thousands of tourists come. we're not going to get any north korean tourists anytime soon but what can we do to break down the mistrust and
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knowledge and understanding? >> it has to come through human contact. you can't do it in the abstract. i remember in my first visit to north korea 11 years ago, they ere aware of a louse si book by tom chancy called on center where the chief figure was a man named gregory donald and my name is donald gregg and that man had been chief station in seoul. i said how in the world did you come up with that? and kim said don't assume that we know as little about you as you know about us. and i think they know much more about us. i think they are much more aquanted with what makes us tick than we are in terms of what makes them tick.
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and you don't get to know that in the abstract. you get to know that by working with them. and that's what we've been unwilling to do. carried a i hand message to the white house that kim come directly from jong ill to open up talks if we would treat them with rment. i got into the white house. i got in to see steve. he read it and said no we won't talk to them. that would be rewarding bad behavior. i was in and out in 20 minutes. not a question was asked about how i had gotten the message or who sent it and that kind of behavior is not going to get us anywhere with north korea. >> let's go right to the bank.
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>> i spent a lot of my time trading with china early on. and my question is nobody has addressed the trade issue. why aren't we going to them with a trade insen snive we had a precedent for it. we had 807. that was where we traded with mexico. cut fabric in the united states and then duty preference to product that is came in from mexico. why count we do that with north korea and south korea and the united states opening its market to goods manufactured under those circumstances? >> the reason is sanctions don't permit it. what you're saying is we unload these sanctions in this limited area? is that what you're advocating? do

Politics Public Policy Today
CSPAN July 12, 2013 8:00pm-10:31pm EDT


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